Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Ainkurunooru – 84

She’ll get tight-lipped and angry just on hearing it,
What’ll happen if she sees with her own eyes –
Your whoring chest that many a girl has relished,
like the chilly river front in the month of Thai
where fragrant flower plaited girls revel in.

செவியின் கேட்பினும் சொல் இறந்து வெகுள்வோள்,
கண்ணின் காணின், என் ஆகுவள்கொல்
நறு வீ ஐம்பால் மகளிர் ஆடும்
தைஇத் தண் கயம் போல,
பலர் படிந்து உண்ணும் நின் பரத்தை மார்பே?

He comes back home after spending time with his mistress. Her friend refuses to let him inside the house saying she will be angry if she sees him. Even hearing that he is with his mistress makes her angry and speech less. What will happen if she sees with her own eyes evidence of his cheating. Petals cling to his chest as evidence. Her friend disparagingly calls it ‘whoring chest’. It was customary during the month of Thai (Jan/Feb) for girls to go and bathe early morning in the chilly waters of the river front. So the river front will be strewn with flowers from their plaited hair. Like that his chest has petals from the tresses of many a girl who has relished it.

Is is thought that this custom of தை நீராடல் (Thai Neeraadal) later morphed into பாவை நோன்பு (Paavai Nonbu).

செவியின் – ear
கேட்பினும் – கேட்டாலே – just on hearing
சொல் இறந்து – word less
வெகுள்வோள் – வெகுளி கொள்வோள் – she who gets angry
நறு – fragrant
வீ – flower
ஐம்பால் – plaited hair
ஆடும் – revel in
தைஇ – Month of Thai (Jan/Feb)
தண் கயம் – cool water front
படிந்து உண்ணும் – settle and relish
பரத்தை – courtesan

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